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St. Barnabas's Church Linslade A History of the Church

At the beginning of the 19th. Century, there were only 35 houses in the parish, with a population of 203. With the building of the canal in 1805, and more particularly the railway in1838, the population rapidly increased.

Influential persons with interests in the canal who feared competition were opposed to the railway. They were able to influence the siting of the railway station for Leighton Buzzard away from the canal. It was built in part of Linslade Known as Chelsea. (Their fears were justified as the railway did reduce the canal trade by almost half.)

In June 1840 the then incumbent (Rev. Perkins) drew public attention to the wants of the new population.

A Committee was set up, and the following is an extract from a leaflet, which they produced and circulated.

"PROPOSED ERECTION OF AN ADDITIONAL CHURCH AND SCHOOL FOR THE EDUCATION OF THE POOR IN THE PARISH OF LINSLADE, BUCKS."

The Committee appointed for the purpose of carrying the above design into execution earnestly solicit the attention of the public to the following statement.

The number of the inhabitants has been ascertained to be 869, by far the greater part, which has sprung up within the last four years. The establishment of the Leighton Buzzard railway station with the extensive building ground adjoining, is in the centre of Linslade parish, having been the cause of the late extraordinary increase of the population, affords the strongest assurance that it will continue to advance at a rate equally rapid. The Church (St. Mary's) is not capable of containing more than 130 persons, it stands at a distance varying between one and two miles from the houses of nearly the whole of the parishioners, and a mile and a half from the district where the great augmentation in their numbers is expected to take place. There is no school in the parish for the education of the poor, and the distance of the Church prevents the establishment of even a Sunday school there with any prospect of success.

"It is proposed to build a new Church, and a school near at hand, in the heart of the population. Estimates have been taken, and the expenses have been laid at 1,900.00 Without further appeal to the Christian feeling of the public, the committee venture to hope that a simple statement of these facts, will induce the religious of all classes to whom it may reach, to come forward liberally to the relief of their brethren labouring under a spiritual destitution rarely equaled in this country.

LINSLADE. June 16th. 1840"

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It was unfortunate that this first venture resulted in promises of help amounting to only 240.00 As this was a great deal less than the estimated figure for the building of a new Church and school, the matter was held in abeyance.

On may 19th. 1847 the Rev. Peter Thomas Ouvry MA, succeeded to the living. In less than a month, (on June 10th. 1847, at the Bedford Arms) he had called a public meeting to reconsider what measures could be taken regarding the need to build a Church and school in the newer part of the parish.

Resolutions were unanimously passed on the need to commence as soon as possible. A leaflet was again printed and circulated stating the needs of the parish, as the population was now said to be over one thousand, and inviting contributions to the building fund.

Such was the enthusiasm of the Rev. Ouvry that by the summer of the next year, no less than 3,376.00 had been obtained. This consisted of 1,800.00 provided by a Government loan, chargeable for repayment on the rates, the Oxford Church Society gave 290.00 the London & North Western Railway Co. gave 50.00 and the remainder was collected in the neighbourhood.

The estimate for the building of the Church was now 2,600.00 with 200.00 for fencing, and 120 for architect's fees.

The seating capacity of St. Mary's was listed as Free sittings 67, and appropriated sittings 60. It was intended that the new Church would seat 600 (all free)

At the same time, a school (now the Church Hall) was built for the accommodation of 100 boys and 100 girls, at a cost of 965.5s. towards which H.M. Committee on Education allowed 198.00 the National Society, and other associations for building Church Schools granted 130.00 the remainder (637) was subscribed by the parish.

It is interesting to note that during the first years accounts of the School, the children of farmers and tradesmen paid 6/- a quarter, or 6d a week, and children of day labourers paid 2d a week. It is recorded there were 13 boys and 7 girls paying 6/- a quarter, and 53 boys and 36 girls paying 2d a week.

It was rather unfortunate that after the above sum had been raised for the building of a new Church and school, a letter was received from the secretary of the new London & N.W Railway Co. at Euston, who stated that when they agreed to subscribe 350.00 towards the building of a Church and school, they had no idea a loan was being negotiated, to be repayable on the parish rates. They pointed out that their assessment for rating was 4,229.00 and as the total assessment for the whole parish was 8,068.00 it was clear that they would be repaying one half of the sum, which they were intending to obtain as a loan, and threatened to withdraw their donation.

Correspondence was exchanged, and it was pointed out that the Railway Co. had been duly informed of the intention to procure a loan of 1,800.00 and it was pointed out that the need to build a Church and school had been made necessary by the large increase in the population of the parish around the newly built railway.

"We could not therefore think that the Directors would withhold the small grant of 50.00 towards a school which had been built at the expense of nearly 1,000.00 especially when one half of the funds required had been raised by public subscription, and more than a quarter of the children to be educated in it belonged to servants of the Railway Co."

It would appear that honour was satisfied, as no record can be found of the 50.00 having been withdrawn. In fact the Directors were known to have recommended that all materials used in the building of the Church, would be carried free of charge by the Railway Co.

The site of the Church, School and Vicarage were given by Dr. Edward Lawford, and the foundation stone of the Church was laid under the east window on the eve of the Feast of the Ascension, May 31st. 1848, and a service was held in All Saints Church, Leighton Buzzard by Samuel Wilberforce, Bishop of Oxford. The collection at this service is recorded as 84.11s.4d.

Probably one of the earliest photographs of St. Barnabas', date unknown, but obviously after the organ was installed in 1889, and before the Choir and Clergy stalls and Chancel screen were installed in 1897. It is thought to be soon after the organ was installed as the commemorative tablet to the organ is not on the wall.

The building is in the 'Early decorated' style, and the walls are of native stone with Bath stone dressings. The nave was somewhat narrower than at present the width extending to the present pillars. (The side aisles were added later). There was a small gallery at the back of the Church; the entrance to this was via a small external stairway, the doorway of which was in the main entrance porch on the North side. The chancel was smaller, the East wall being in line with the present sanctuary steps. There were four two-light windows in the North and South walls of the nave, but no record can be found of the original East window. The resulted light was said to be poor. A lofty bell turret of stone terminating in a cone, and containing one bell surmounted the western gable of the nave.

An organ was purchased and first used on Sunday March 30th. 1861. This was installed in the gallery at the West End of the Church. Little detail can be found of this organ, except that it was a "Walker" organ bought at a cost of 151.16s. And was obviously hand-blown. It is believed that the organ was moved to the present organ position in the south side of the chancel during the 1869 extension.

The font was of Bath stone octagonal in form supported by a pillar carved with arcading.

Rev. Richardson designed and erected a vicarage in 1854, for the cost of which funds had been collected partly by his predecessor (Rev. Willink), and by way of donations from the Governors of the Queen Anne's Bounty Fund, and the Diocesan Society.

New boundary walls and fences were built in1865 costing a further 52.00.

The Rev. H.A. Gibson was appointed on Oct. 9th. 1861, and during the eighteen years he was Vicar, the works of the Church prospered greatly. In 1868 he set about the extension of the Church, and on July 8th. 1868, the foundation stone of the South aisle and tower was laid by the Bishop of Oxford (Wilberforce) and the completed works were consecrated by the Bishop on Tuesday August 3rd. 1869. The architect was B. Edmund Ferry of London. The cost of the work being almost 2,000.00, the contractors being Messrs. Garside and Holstock of Leighton Buzzard.

At this time the gallery was altered, and a new tile floor was laid in the Chancel, and the Choir and Clergy stalls were moved. The bell- turret was removed and the present tower was built. It is seventy-five feet high from the ground to the weathercock.

The five bells, which had seen centuries of service at St. Mary's were transferred to the new tower and another bell purchased to bring the number to six. The old bell- turret was taken to the Church of St. Michael's and All Angels Gt. Billington where it can still be seen. The accounts for the 1869 extension are of interest: - Removing the five bells from St. Mary's, making a new bell Frame for St. Barnabas, Recast the brass bearings, new stocks & stays, new bell ropes, hanging the bells in the new frame 70.00. At this time, in addition to the new bell, a bell was bought for St. Mary's to replace the bells removed, and for use at funerals etc. The cost of these two new bells was 38.4s.8d. And the cost of carriage from the bell foundry in London to Linslade was 5/-. For the sake of younger readers it should be pointed out that this is 25p in our present currency!

Considerable smaller items were dealt with at this time, perhaps the least successful was the purchase of two new wands for the Churchwardens, for the sum of 9d.each! It is not suprising that they were later said to be not of very good quality, nor were they worthy of St. Barnabas', and they were replaced by the present ones, which were made by Canon Lydekker.

The present pulpit of oak, with a Dumfries stone base, was erected in 1883 to the memory of William Stevens Cooper, a Churchwarden from 1849-1868. The handrail, oak paneling, and sounding board were added in 1951 by Mr. Cecil H. Bullivant as a memorial to his wife, Nelly May Bullivant (nee Copson) Richard & Annie Bullivant and the Copsons of Linslade. Mrs. R. Moody gave the crucifix on the paneling as thanks offering for the safe return of her two sons from the Great War of 1914-1918. The pulpit was placed by the builder five inches farther North than indicated in the Architects drawings, which made it appear to be rather tucked in the corner, but was thought it would look better when the North Aisle was built (this did not happen until thirty years later). The builder offered to move it at half the cost (2.10s.0) but said there was a risk of damage if it was undertaken.

A carved stone reredos was erected in 1883 in memory of Caroline Ann Lawford, to the design of B. Edmund Ferry. The question of continuing the stone work of the reredos along the window ledge was discussed in 1908. The cost would be defrayed by a member of the Lawford family.

 

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On the anniversary of the Church's dedication in 1883, the Vicar and Churchwardens determined to re-open the extension fund, proposing to add a new North Aisle to correspond with that of the South. A leaflet was printed which explained that over 5,500.00 had so far been expended. The population in 1881 was shown as 1724 and steadily increasing.

The leaflet went on to say: -

"The sittings are all free, and by much compression and crowding will accommodate seven hundred. For the improvement of the Church, a reredos and a pulpit, both memorials of former parishioners have recently been given; a better organ, a larger font, a brass lectern, and a few lesser things will be gratefully received. To provide fully for present and immediately future needs from 1,500.00 to 2,000.00 will be required.

E.G. Punchard. Vicar"

Whether the distribution of this leaflet influenced anyone is difficult to say, but in 1889 Mr. Henry Finch (Churchwarden) of 'The Gables' Linslade, gave a new organ to commemorate the marriage of his only daughter, Miss Louisa Kate Finch and Mr. Sidney Morton Roberts of Sheffield.

The following is an extract from the Leighton Buzzard Observer:

" A new organ was presented to the Church on Monday December 23rd. 1889. The instrument built by Messrs J. W. Walker & Sons of London is a large and powerful one with all the latest improvements in an unvarnished Gothic panelled case, with two sets of white spotted metal pipes facing North to the chancel, and West to the South Aisle. It occupies the whole of the space previously allotted to organ chamber and vestry, the requirements of the latter being now provided for, by a new arrangement beneath the gallery at the West end of the Church. The Rt. Rev. the Lord Bishop of Reading took part in the service and preached the sermon. The organist was G. Trevor Huxham T.C.L. organist of Worcester College Oxford. After the service a recital was listened to with great interest. The full powers of the instrument were displayed to the greatest advantage, and the general conclusion arrived at by the large congregation. "That Linslade had become possessed of an organ for its Church of which many a larger parish might well be proud."

The Original Organ Specification was as Follows:

GREAT

SWELL

Open Diapason Large 8'

Double Diapason 16'

Open Diapason Small 8'

Open Diapason 8'

Gamba 8'

Stopped Diapason 8'

Wald Flute 8'

Echo Gamba 8'

Principal 4'

Vox Angelica 8'

Harmonic Flute 4'

Principal 4'

Twelfth 2.2/3'

Mixture 3 Rks

Fifteenth 2'

Horn 8'

Trumpet 8'

Hautboy 8'

CHOIR

Pedal

Salicional 8'

Open Diapason 16'

Dulciana 8'

Bourdon 16'

Lieblich Gedakt 8'

Violincello 8'

Lieblich Flute 4'

Bass Flute 8'

Gemshorn 4'

Trombone 16'

Clarionet 8'

 

The organ was hand-blown until 1914, and the services of an organ blower who had undertaken this work for 21 years was dispensed with when a gas engine was installed. At this time Messrs Norman & Beard reconstructed the organ at a cost of 750, when their form of tubular pneumatic action was fitted, with a new keyboard, pedal-board and stops. The compass of the manuals was increased to C. (five octaves). The Open Diapason Small was converted to Double Open Diapason by moving up an octave, and deriving the bass from the Pedal Bourbon. The Harmonic Bass 32' was added to the pedal dept. The pressure of the Swell was increased throughout and revoiced. The Choir organ was enclosed in a separate swell box.

After This Reconstruction the Specification Was As Follows:

GREAT

SWELL

Double Open Diapason Large 16'

Double Diapason 16'

Open Diapason No.1 8'

Open Diapason 8'

Open Diapason No.2 8'

Stopped Diapason 8'

Wald Flute 8'

Echo Gamba 8'

Principal 4'

Vox Angelica 8'

Harmonic Flute 4'

Principal 4'

Twelfth 2.2/3'

Mixture 3 Rks

Fifteenth 2'

Horn 8'

Tromba 8'

Oboe 8'

CHOIR

Pedal

Dulciana 8'

Harmonic Bass 32'

Lieblich Gedakt 8'

Open Diapason 16'

Gamba 8'

Bourdon 16'

Flute 4'

Violincello 8'

Gemshorn 4'

Bass Flute 8'

Clarionet 8'

Trombone 16'

In 1927 an electrically powered blower replaced the gas engine.

In 1960 the organ was extensively cleaned and overhauled at a cost of 435.00.

In 1973 the pneumatic action was replaced by electric action, the work being undertaken by Leighton Organs at a cost of 1500.00. At the same time, the Gamba and Flute stops on the Choir organ were replaced by Nazard 2.2/3' and Tierce 1.3/5'.

In 1997 further repairs were made to the organ which included the replacement of the entire (Swell, Top Manual) pneumatic stop action with electric motor solenoids. Re leathering of the Swell piston pneumatics, and the installation of a separate electrical system to ultimately control all stop actions.

It is interesting to note the word 'SILENCE' over the doorway at the side of the organ, dating from the time when this area formed part of the vestry. The reason for this must be left to the reader's own ideas!

In 1897 the wrought- iron screen was erected at the chancel steps by Mr. C.W. Hogg in memory of his wife, formerly Miss Tearle of Leighton Buzzard. Mr. Hogg also presented a processional cross at the same time.

The Choir and Clergy stalls in oak were erected by public subscription, to replace the old ones of deal, to commemorate the 60th. Year of the reign of Queen Victoria in 1897.

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An original Architect's drawing of St. Barnabas. (Viewed from the South side).

Note: The original bell-turret, which was removed on building the tower in 1869.

Plans for further extension of the Church were obtained in 1898 on the suggestion of the Bishop of Reading, although it was realised that the work could only proceed as and when funds permitted. It was estimated that the addition of a North Aisle, Side Chapel, Vestry and removal of the North Porch and provision of a new West Porch would cost 2,000.

The Tower Clock

Mrs. Elizabeth Hadley gave the Tower Clock in 1904, in memory of her husband James Hadley who died in 1891.

This is quite a good example of a mechanical clock of this period, and was made by the firm of J.W. Benson of London. (Clockmaker to H.R.H. the Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII.) The clock which incorporates 'Westminster' chiming, could not be accomplished on the existing six bells, so at the same time (1904) Mrs. Hadley gave two new bells to give the complete musical octave necessary.

Until the early 1990s the clock had always been hand wound once a week by successive generations of the Vickers family, the task passing from father to son until age prevented the last member from climbing the vertical ladder to the clock room.

The clock faces were regilded in 1934 and again in 1989.

As part of the Bells restoration project of 1996/1997 the clock was completely refurbished by A.J. Nicholls of Bristol at a cost of 4,407.00. The money for this being raised by the bellringers themselves. The clock was moved from the West wall to the East Wall, (this was done to allow the ringing circle to be moved away from the door of the ringing chamber.) The clock was also fitted with an electrically powered automatic winding mechanism, and completely overhauled by A.J. Nicholls at their workshop in Bristol.

The Clock Prior To Electrification

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The Bells

It has already been mentioned that five bells were transferred to this Church from St. Mary's Old Linslade, on the building of the tower in 1869, and an additional bell purchased. Two further bells were added in 1904, the fifth being re-cast at this time.

It will be noted that the Latin inscriptions on the Old Linslade bells were lost when the Bells were re-cast in 1781. These were the only bells in Buckinghamshire made by the bell-founder Wm. Chapman of London.

The Old Bell Inscriptions:

Treble

1904

Mears & Stainbank

To the glory of God may my sound be pleasing to thee, O Christ, King of Heaven. Lady Day 1904

2nd

1869

John Warner & Sons

 

3rd

1781

William Chapman

Joseph Gurney ChurchWarden. Andrew Corbet Esqr. Lord of the Manor. All tho but small yet we are good for us stood John Swinstead Junr. Of Leighton

4th

1781

William Chapman

Andrew Corbet Esqr. Lord of the Manor

5th

1904

Mears & Stainbank

Recast 1904

6th

1781

William Chapman

Andrew Corbet Esqr. Lord of the Manor. Joseph Gurney Church Warden 1781

7th

1781

William Chapman

Andrew Corbet Esqr. Lord of the Manor. Joseph Gurney Church Warden 1781

Tenor

1904

Mears & Stainbank

To the glory of God. This bell & the treble bell were given by Elizabeth Hadley in memory of her late husband James Hadley. Lady Day 1904. Charles Edward Dandridge Vicar. Henry Finch. William Jeffs Church Wardens

The bells were tuned to the key of A flat, and their weights varied from the treble weight of three cwt. to the tenor weight of 9cwt. 21 lbs. The bells were re-hung in ball bearings in 1935 at a cost of 123.00.

The Restoration of the Bells 1990-1997

Light

Gas lighting was installed in 1862 at a cost of 38.16s. The first lights were from floor mounted lamp standards. These were subsequently changed to hanging lamps. Electric lighting was installed in 1927 at a cost of 58.00. The Church was completely rewired in 1967 when the present lights were fitted at a cost of 576.00 (Once again the Church needs to be rewired the estimated cost this time being around 7,500.00).

Heat

Several records can be found of the various heating arrangements in the Church, from underground stoves at the North Door and South Aisle in 1892, to the present radiators, which were installed in 1912. The boilers have been recorded as being in a lean to shed with a corrugated iron roof, which was damaged on one occasion by a falling gargoyle, to the present system which is situated under the West Porch. The boiler was converted to oil firing in 1970. In 1991 an Ideal Concorde 340,000 BTU Gas Fired boiler was installed by Town & Country Heating of Leighton Buzzard at a cost of 6,398.96 incl. VAT.

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The Lady Chapel

The Lady Chapel was erected as a memorial to the family of Lawford, by Miss Mary Lawford who laid the foundation stone on the morning of July 27th. 1905.Miss Lawford was presented with a handsome silver trowel by the Churchwardens to perform the ceremony, and laid the stone with the following words:

" In the faith of Jesus Christ we place this foundation stone. In the name of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost."

Mr. T. Yirrel carried out the building work to the plans of Mr. J.T. Lawrence, keeping the exterior in the Old English style to conform to the rest of the Church. The Bishop of Oxford dedicated the Lady Chapel on November 29th. 1905. The Chapel is thirty foot in length, sixteen feet in width and has a canted apse. The floor of the apse is of black and white marble with the rest of the floor being of wood blocks. The roof of the Chapel is of boarding with moulded ribs, and there is a stone cornice with the inscription:

'To the Glory of God and as a memorial to the family of Lawford this Chapel was erected by Mary J Lawford Anno Domini 1905.'

At the East End of the cornice is inscribed Holy, Holy, Holy, and the Greek letters signifying Alpha and Omega. Two oak screens were erected to divide the Chapel from the Chancel and North Aisle; Messrs. Edwards of Eggington and Leighton Buzzard carved these. The windows, which had been in the North wall of the Chancel, were removed on building the Lady Chapel and transferred to the Choir Vestry, which together with the Clergy Vestry was built at this time.

Laying the foundation stone of the North Aisle. 1905

On the afternoon of July 27th. 1905, the foundation stones for the Lady Chapel and the North Aisle were laid by Lord Addington the Grand Master of the Bucks Provincial Lodge of Freemasons. The following are extracts from local newspapers reporting the event.

" The afternoon ceremony was of a very imposing character, and the ritual, full of significance was of a beautiful order. Large numbers assembled near the Church, taking advantage of the platform which had been built. There were several flags flying, and the place bore an animated appearance. The Provincial Lodge of Buckinghamshire had met in the Forster Institute, and marched in due order to the Church with the St. Barnabas Church Choir.

The procession was a gay spectacle, the regalia and symbols of office, presenting a gorgeous appearance. The brightly coloured aprons and collars, as well as cuffs made the summer dresses of the ladies look dull if not dowdy, whilst to crown it all, came the banner of the local lodge, with the figure of its patron saint St. Barnabas, conspicuous with the two flags of the province. The Tylers of Leighton Beaudesert Lodge and the Linslade Lodge appeared carrying swords, but perhaps the figure that attracted the greatest amount of attention, was the provincial sword bearer who carried an immense sword and immediately preceded the Provincial Grand Master, Lord Addington. The various masonic bretheren carried their respective symbols of office, these being the cause of much speculation and interest among the onlookers. From the the spectacular point of view, the function was unrivalled by anything seen in the neighbourhood before.

Having arrived at the Church, the procession halted, and after a short address by Lord Addington, the foundation stone was raised by pulleys, and the Rev. C.E. Roberts offered a prayer. The Provincial Grand Master then said; "I declare it my will and pleasure that the corner stone of this Church be laid". The stone was then lowered nine inches, and the Choir sang "Great Architect of Earth and Heaven". A bottle containing a parchment with an account of the undertaking, a copy of the Leighton Buzzard Observer of July 18th. 1905, a list of masonic officers and others taking part, and the current coins of the realm were then placed in a cavity underneath by Brother H. Finch. The cavity was sealed with a brass plate, and the stone was lowered a short distance, while the Choir now sang "To Heavens Architect all Praise".

The cement was now spread, and at the request of the Provincial Grand Master (coached in quaint terms) various masonic brothers in turn, applied a plumb rule, level, square, and the stone was declared to be well and truly laid. A cornucopia containing corn, as the sacred emblem of plenty was poured over the stone with the words:- "May the all bounteous Creator of the Universe, shower down his choicest blessings on this Church and grant a full supply of the corn of nourishment, the wine of refreshment, and the oil of joy." Wine, as the sacred emblem of truth was next poured over the stone with the words:- "May he whose name is love, grant that we may be one heart and mind, and may we ever dwell together as brethren in unity." Finally, oil as the sacred emblem of charity, with the words:- "May God give us grateful hearts, and may we ever be readily cheerfully to relieve the wants of others."

Many further improvements, which had been desired had not been possible until Mrs. Charlotte Maria Simpson of Linslade House, who had been a generous supporter of the Church during her lifetime, by her will, left the residue of her estate, after payments of other bequests, to the Vicar and Churchwardens, for the enlarging and beautifying of the Church, and for the improving of the organ. It was in her house that the building of the Church was first discussed and decided upon, and with her bequest it was hoped to complete the Church in a worthy manner. (As was the case with Mrs. C.M. Forster who instigated the building of the Forster Institute). Mrs. Simpson died on November 15th. 1911 and by her benefaction the work to complete the Church was begun in 1912, and continued for two years. The North Aisle was completed, the North Porch and entrance which was blamed for many an icy draught, was dispensed with on the provision of a new West Porch. The gallery was removed, and as this gave access to the belfry a new spiral staircase to the ringing chamber was built in the South West corner of the nave. (The lintel of the old entrance doorway can still be seen in the brickwork on the North wall in the ringing chamber). The exterior door to this entrance, is the original door to the old North Porch, which gave access to the gallery, and the belfry door was the one which originally led from the gallery.

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One of the most notable features of the enlargement was the provision of a new West window by Messrs. Percy Bacon of London, (who were also responsible for the Lady Chapel windows) at a cost of 400.00 as a memorial to the Church's benefactress. It is a beautiful piece of work in the finest English glass. At the top is an emblem of the Holy Spirit, supported by three angels. Below are two angels bearing a scroll with the inscription: Be glad o ye righteous and rejoice in the lord. In each of the small lights that stretch across the centre of the window is a representation of one of the archangels.

Gabriel, The Messenger of the Incarnation.

Raphael, The angel of healing.

Michael, The angel of judgement.

Uriel, The flame of God.

The four large figures are those of English historical saints connected with this part of England, and representing the three dioceses of which Linslade has already formed a part:

St. Birinus of Dorchester (Oxfordshire)

St. Hugh of Lincoln

St. Frideswide of Oxford

St. Osyth of Aylesbury

The old boarded floor was taken up, and a new oak block floor was put down, and the Church was entirely re-seated. The old stained and varnished deal pews were rather close together, making it difficult to pass anyone already seated. The new seating is of English Oak, panelled in tracery work at the ends, on the front of the first, and back of the last seats on each side. These were made by Messrs. J.S. Hammond of Romford at a cost of 820.00. Carved Oak rosettes were made and fitted by a local craftsman in 1915 in order to further improve the appearance of the pews. (There are no two alike).

As a thank-offering for the extension of the Church, it was hoped that Churches less fortunate than St. Barnabas' (at home and overseas) would benefit from the gift of some of the old pews from the South aisle. These were duly sent to the Vicar of Woodhouse Huddersfield, along with the old font for use in one of his Mission Churches. At the same time a gift of a pair of candle sticks and an alms dish was sent to St. Georges Calgary, Canada.

In addition to the West porch, a supplementary entrance was made next to the vestries in the North-East corner of the Nave. All the doors and the oak tracery over the doors are in English Oak. Work was also carried out on the tower, as the foundations were found to require attention, and much under-pinning had to be done. It was also strengthened with wrought-iron tie rods, and a new lightening conductor was fitted. Two new windows were made in the belfry, and much work was done to the nave roof.

Recesses were cut in the North and South walls to take the radiators of the new heating system, and extra ventilators fitted in the roof.

New gas lighting of wrought iron pendants, which were hung from the roof, were fitted. The chancel was extended by fifteen feet, in an easterly direction, the chancel arch and roof were raised four feet, and the East window was raised in the new East wall. Of the nine firms tenderingfor this work, Messrs. Franklin was chosen, their estimate for the work being 947.00. A new nine feet oak altar was purchased, with a shallow retable behind, and is approached by four shallow steps. A seat was made in the north wall for the servers, with an aumbry. On the South wall, a piscina and sedilla for the clergy were provided. In the place of the carved reredos, carved riddel posts surmounted by angels with candles to which richly coloured curtains are hung, were installed.

The workmen engaged on the extension of the chancel, found the original foundation stone, which bears the inscription; May 31st. 1848. Under the stone was found a small bottle, containing coins of that year. These were silver pieces of the value 1d. 2d., 3d., and 4d., and two bronze coins of the same size as a farthing, which were so corroded that they were unrecognizable. The foundation stone was replaced in the new East wall, and under it was placed two phials, one containing the original coins, and the other coins of 1913 of the value 3d. 6d., & 1/-.

The marble paving of the sanctuary floor and the boarding of the roof were paid for by Miss Lawford. Whilst this work was carried out, the organ was removed, and a small orchestra accompanied the singing at services.

On Sunday May 10th. 1914 the first bishop of Buckingham dedicated the new West window, Porch, North aisle, Lectern, new altar and the sanctuary at ten thirty a.m. At two p.m. a Confirmation service was held, followed by a children's service, which was followed by a service for the Church of England Men's Society, and what must have been a busy day ended with Evensong. Two additional cornets and drums augmented the orchestra in addition to the newly reconstructed organ. It was reported that this was not too powerful for the large congregation that attended that day.

In April 1912, a carved oak lectern was given by Mrs. Blanche Kerrick in memory of her mother Mrs. Chiltern. The lectern, was made by Mr. Robinson of Bloomsbury London, to the design of Mr. Fellows Prynne, the noted Church Architect. A new font was installed in 1913 in memory of Douglas Hurst-Jones who was curate for twelve years, and Vicar for four years of this parish. It is made of Verona red marble, with Conomara green columns, and cost 100.00.

A Font Ewer was given by the Girls Friendly Society in 1914. Two altar rails were presented at Easter 1915, one in memory of Emma, Arthur & Sidney Lloyd, and the other in memory of Miss Edith King who was for many years a Sunday School teacher. The centre rail was given in memory of Grace Elsie Birch in 1953.

In 1921 a war memorial designed by Mr. C. Bodsworth was erected in memory of the fallen of the Great War 1914-1918. On each side of this memorial can be seen two wooden crosses which had marked the graves in France of Edward Sayell (Choirman) and Sidney Howe (Server). The tablet commemorating the gift of the clock and two bells, which previously occupied this space was moved to the corner near the Belfry door at this time. A memorial to the men who died in the Second World War 1939-1945 was added below the other memorial. A smaller memorial tablet, installed in 1920 can be seen in the Belfry to the four bellringers who lost their lives in the Great War of 1914-1918. Made of Sicilian marble by Thomas Yirrel of Leighton Buzzard at a cost of 12.00 (the original invoice for this memorial can be seen on display in the belfry).

In 1920 two standard lights, and a pair of processional tapers were presented by the Communicants Guild & Servers Guild. In 1921 the Servers Guild presented a large crucifix, which is used on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. In 1926 the lovely figures of our Christmas and Epiphany crib were given by Lady Acland, in memory of her husband Sir William Acland. It is thought the figures came from Oberammagau. The priests red cope and crucifers tunicle were subsequent gifts of her Ladyship, also the silver thurible and incense boat.

The side altar was given in memory of Norman Missenden who died on active service in 1944. The altar was later enlarged, and a new frontal was made by the Needlewomen's Guild. The cross (given by Miss Lawford) and the candlesticks on the lady Chapel altar, also the sanctuary lamp and Sanctus bell were resilvered, in memory of Stanley Abbott (server) who died on active service in 1945.

In 1949 the centenary of the Church was celebrated on Sunday June 19th. The Bishop of Oxford preached at the morning service and the Bishop of Buckingham at Evensong. At this time a pageant was staged in the Vicarage Garden, depicting the History of Linslade from the days when pilgrims visited the Holy well at Old Linslade, until the present day.

The Chippendale Paschal Candle standard was given by Mrs. Tregear in 1950. In 1952 a carpet covering the centre aisle was given anon. Extensive repairs to the Church roof were carried out in 1955 at a cost of 1,455.00. The nave was redecorated in 1958 at a cost of 450.00.

At the suggestion of the Rev. Rumens (Vicar 1962-1965) a Needlewomens Guild was formed on March 11th 1963, to care for and replace where necessary, the Eucharistic vestments and altar furnishings etc. During their first year just over 380.00 was raised by the Guild. Members undertook lessons in embroidery, and much work was done to the Church Vestments. The altar curtains were renewed at Easter of their first year at a cost of 100.00. A notable item of work by the Guild can be seen in the Lady Chapel, where kneelers made by the members, to the design of Mrs. Rumens can be found. At this time, two kneelers in white were made by the Guild for use at weddings and presented to Pastor Arni Palssons, for use in his four Churches in Iceland. During Lent, the rich red altar hangings are replaced by the more sombre Lenten Array, made of unbleached line and made by the Guild.

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On the super-frontal are depicted the emblems of the Passion of our Lord. These are: the cock, reeds, lantern, spear and sponge, dice, the seamless robe, chalice with host, St. Veronica's veil, nails, hammer and pincers, pillar and scourges, thirty pieces of silver, and the ewer and basin.

On the aumbry cover and pulpit fall:- The Pelican.

The Lady Chapel Frontal:- The heart pierced by a sword.

Side Altar:- Cross supported by angels with chalices.

The cross with an eighteenth century crucifix, on a period base and the pair of Gilt Florentine candlesticks on the High Altar were given in memory of William Howe, (server for over fifty years).

The wrought iron gates to the main entrance were presented anonymously at Easter 1961, and a wrought iron gate for the North entrance in 1963.

The hand rails outside the West Door were given in memory of Arthur Thomas Pullen (Churchwarden) in 1976.

Stained Glass

The Church has many fine examples of stained glass windows, among them work by C.E. Kempe.

The West Window has already been described.

The East Window was erected by James Hadley, in memory of his daughter Elizabeth Sarah Hadley, who died in 1872. The window depicts the following scenes:-

The finding of Moses.

The passage of the Israelites through the Red Sea.

The brazen serpent.

The offering of Issac.

The lower part shows principal events in the life of Christ.

The Nativity.

The Baptism of our Blessed Lord.

His Crucifixion.

His Resurrection.

Above, St. Cecilia is represented with angels holding various instruments of music. The window was made by Messrs. Heaton, Butler & Bayne of London.

Also in the Chancel is a window depicting The Good Shepherd, and is to the memory of The Rev. Gibson (vicar for eighteen years) 1880.

In the South Aisle, a window depicting David and Melchisedek, erected to the memory of Sydney Herbert Lloyd, organist for ten years. It was originally intended to have stained glass in all the windows of the South Aisle.

Abraham & Moses

Samuel & Elijah

Joseph & Daniel

Only the window of David and Melchisedek was ever installed. It is not known why the other three windows did not come to be replaced with stained glass. It was not until July 18th. 1994 that these three remaining windows came to be replaced, with six stained glass windows by C.E. Kempe, dated 1882, (two panels per window). The windows were formerly in the Theological College, Ely, and represent.

St. Columba,

St. Augustine of Canterbury,

St. Boniface,

John Coleridge Patterson and Charles Mackenzie.

This work was enabled as part of the very generous bequest to St. Barnabas' Church of the late George Biley. A tablet of blue-black slate from Aberllefenni, carved by John Neilson of Wrexham and erected on the wall of the South Aisle in memory of the late Charles Harold James Hall gives provenance to the Kempe glass. The windows were installed by the Carl Edwards Studios.

It is worth noting that some of the original plain glass from these windows replaced the wire-reinforced glass in the ringing chamber windows.

In the North Aisle

St. Elizabeth and John the Baptist

Erected to the memory of Elizabeth and Frank Sheerman.

St. James the Less and St. Barnabas

Erected to the memory of Henry Hesketh Chilton 1877.

In the North West corner

St. Barnabas and St. James the Great

Erected to the memory of Elizabeth Hadley 1923.

Over the North door

Suffer the little children

Erected to the memory of Lucy Ann Theobold 1909.

The Lady Chapel

The Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

The Adoration of the Magi

The Presentation of Christ in the Temple 1905.

In the Choir Vestry (originally in the chancel)

St. Paul and St. Barnabas

Erected in memory of the Lenten mission Services 1874.

My grateful thanks to Mr. John Vickers for his kind permission in allowing me to transcribe his original History of St. Barnabas's Church first published in 1983, and for his help and assistance in providing the information allowing me to update it.

Graham J. Gill

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